Best comedians born and bred in the North West revealed 

6 min read


6 min read


While we can’t enjoy comedy shows in person just yet, we wanted to give you inspiration for your next theatre trip when everything does finally go back to normal.

We have rounded up some of the best, famous comedians that were born and bred in the North West to give you a taste of the talent that has come from our region. Then the next time one of them holds a comedy gig here at Blackpool Grand Theatre, you can book yourself some front row tickets for the best of the North West.

The North West of England is home to some of the greatest comedic talent to ever make it to the stage. With such a rich heritage of belly laugh-generating ability, the team at the Blackpool Grand Theatre thought it was only fair to create a list of the top ten North West performers. The list has a range of names from current superstars all the way through to legends of the stage, complete with their best one-liners, past television shows and surprising facts that you didn’t know about them. On with the show! 


Here are the top 10 comedians from the North West:

  1. John Bishop
  2. Steve Coogan
  3. Peter Kay
  4. Lee Mack
  5. Jon Richardson
  6. Eric Morecambe
  7. Ken Dodd
  8. Les Dawson
  9. Victoria Wood
  10. Bobby Ball


John Bishop


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Best one-liner: “I have been privileged to get to know Kenny Dalglish and I would call him a friend  – although his lawyer would call me a stalker. I don’t know why – just because I was in his garden!”

John started comedy in what some would call the most productive midlife crisis to ever take place. Getting close to his 40th birthday, John left his full-time job as a sales rep to take the gamble and follow his comedic aspirations. A phenomenal rise in a three-year time frame meant that he was performing to arenas (sold out as well, not just practising jokes in empty stadiums). John was born in Liverpool in 1966, and has been married to his wife Melanie since 1993. 

You will know him from: Skins, John Bishop’s Britain, Have I Got News For You, Mock The Week, Would I Lie To You? 

Something you didn’t know: John was listed as the UK’s highest-paid comedian in 2016 by Forbes, raking in £5.4 million (10th highest paid globally).  


Steve Coogan 


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Best one-liner: “Wings? They’re only the band The Beatles could’ve been!” (as Alan Partridge)

Steve began his comedy career performing in Ipswich as a stand-up and impressionist. He then moved into television work in the form of voiceovers for adverts, alongside voice acting in Spitting Image. Steve was born in Middleton, a small village just south of Lancaster and has one daughter called Clare with an ex-partner called Anna Cole . 

You will know him from: Spitting image, I’m Alan Partridge, This Time With Alan Partridge, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa 

Something you didn’t know: Coogan is a huge fan of Ferraris, and was an avid collector of them. This was until he realised that value depreciation, combined with the total running costs, meant it was costing him more than hiring a private jet. 


Peter Kay


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Best one-liner: A cement mixer collided with a prison van on the Kingston Bypass. Motorists are asked to be on the lookout for 16 hardened criminals.”

Brought up in Farnworth, a town in Bolton, Peter left school with just one GCSE in art. Peter studied media performance at the University of Salford, and worked several jobs including positions at a toilet factory, a supermarket as well as Manchester Arena. When starting out, Kaytook part in his first stand up competition and won first place as the ‘North West Comedian of the Year’, even beating a young Johnny Vegas at the time. Kay lives with his wife Susan, and their three children. 

You will know him from: Phoenix Nights, Wallace and Gromit – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Comic Relief’s ‘Amarillo’ (originally by Tony Christie). 

Something you didn’t know: Kay received an honorary doctorate from The University of Salford in 2016, for his contribution to the entertainment industry. 


Lee Mack


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Best one-liner: “I went to see a handwriting expert last week, she could tell I was laid-back, gullible and well-off just from a signature on a cheque.”

Performed at BGT –

Mack was born in Stockport in 1968. After an interesting time working several jobs post leaving school, he performed his first stand up in 1994. This was at the same time as studying at the University of Brunel, of which he graduated with a degree in drama. He put all his efforts into making stand up comedy a full-time job, and he reached this goal in 18 months. Mack married his wifeTara, in 2005.  `They live together with their three children. 

You will know him from: Not Going Out, Would I Lie To You?, Lee Mack’s All-Star Cast, Horrible Histories – The Movie: Rotten Romans (for a slightly younger audience perhaps). 

Something you didn’t know: One of the jobs Mack had after leaving school was working in a stable owned by Ginger McCain. After asking the trainer if he could ride a horse, Mack picked the legendary horse Red Rum. Not bad for a first ride! 


Jon Richardson


Source credit: Tumblr Winchester.Angel


Best one-liner: “I don’t mean to hate people, I just get forced into it.”

Perhaps better known for his television appearances, Jon Richardson has made a name for himself as a regular (usually seen in an incredibly comfy looking dad cardigan) on 8 Out Of 10 cats.

Richardson was born and raised in Lancaster. After spending a year and a half at Bristol University, he decided that his course wasn’t for him and wanted to pursue his comic career. Richardson lives with his wife and fellow comic Lucy Beaumont, and their daughter who was born in 2016. 

You will know him from: 8 Out Of 10 Cats (Does Countdown), Jon Richardson: Ultimate Warrior, Meet The Richardsons 

Something you didn’t know: After leaving University, Richardson lived with fellow comedian Russell Howard for a year in Bristol. 

Jon Richardson has performed at Blackpool Grand Theatre previously. Check out Jon Richardson’s tour dates with Blackpool Grand Theatre


Eric Morecambe


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Best one-liner: “My neighbour asked if he could use my lawnmower and I told him of course he could, so long as he didn’t take it out of my garden.”

Eric Morecambe is most famous for his partnership with Ernie Wise, when together they formed the legendary comedy duo of Morecambe and Wise. We’ve used his stage name in the listing as it’s the one that most people will recognise, but his actual birth name is John Bartholemew. Morecombe chose his stage name from the Lancashire seaside town called Morecombe, where he grew up. Morecombe married Joan Barlett in 1952, and they had three children together called Gary, Stephen and Gail. 

You will know him from: Morecambe and Wise (the partnership lasted from 1941 – 1984). 

Something you didn’t know: Eric was originally going to become a coal miner in 1944 to help with the final stages of the war efforts. Ernie was also conscripted, and joined the Navy in the same year. 



Ken Dodd


Credit source: Daily Post 


Best one-liner: “I have kleptomania. But when it gets bad, I take something for it.”

Born in 1927, Dodd was raised (and would end up living for the rest of his life),  in Liverpool. This was apart from a brief spell in which he was evacuated during the Second World War. Known for his eccentric performances and incredible repertoire of one-liners, he is recognised as one of the greats of British comedy. As well as having a successful career in comedy, Dodd also had several number ones – his recording of Tears was the highest-selling single in 1965. 

You will know him from: The Ken Dodd Show, Ken Dodd’s Showbiz, Ken Dodd’s World of Laughter, The Ken Dodd Laughter Show

Something you didn’t know: Dodd’s memorable buck teeth came as a result of a dare; his schoolmates challenged him to ride a bicycle with his eyes closed. 


Les Dawson


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Best one-liner: “I said to the chemist, ‘Can I have some sleeping pills for the wife?’ He said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘She keeps waking up.’”

Ok, we know that Les Dawson isn’t from Lancashire, but we felt that he should be included as such an important comedic figure in the British landscape. Born in Collyhurst, Manchester in 1931, Dawson worked briefly as a journalist for The Bury Times as one of his first jobs before his career took off. 

You will know him from: Opportunity Knocks, Blankety Blank, The Les Dawson Show

Something you didn’t know: Dawson was an avid writer of poetry before his career in comedy. He kept it secret, as he believed it wasn’t expected of someone from a working-class background at the time. 


Victoria Wood


Image source: Hello magazine


Best one-liner: “I once went to one of those parties where everyone throws their car keys into the middle of the room. I don’t know who got my moped, but I’ve been driving that Peugeot for years.”

Victoria Wood began her career in comedy by appearing on television, as opposed to starting from a more live performance based beginning. New Faces, a talent show broadcast in 1974, kick-started Wood’s rise to stardom. The appearance quickly led her to star in many shows on both the BBC and ITV, which would continue for many years after. Wood has been appointed an OBE and CBE in 1997 and 2008 respectively. (Wood was also born just out of Lancashire, but we wanted to include her for her incredible services to TV). 

You will know her from: Dinnerladies, Eric and Ernie, Acorn Antiques

Something you didn’t know: Wood was recognised in the ITV poll of the British public’s top 50 TV stars in 2006, finishing 10th. 


Bobby Ball


Credit source: Independent


Best one-liner (from the Cannon and Ball Show):

Police officer: Bobby Ball?! Is that your real name?

Bobby: No, my real name is Flora Margarine but I don’t like to spread it around. 

Bobby Ball was born in Oldham in 1944 (birth name being Robert Harper). He worked a couple of jobs before embarking on his comedy career, one of which was as a welder, where he met his soon to be partner in crime Thomas Derbyshire (stage name: Tommy Cannon). The duo Cannon and Ball went onto become a highly successful comedy pair, with ‘The Cannon and Ball Show’ lasting for more than a decade on national television. Ball was a regular supporter of the Variety Children’s charity, from which he received a lifetime achievement award in 2018. 

You will know him from: The Cannon and Ball Show, Last of the Summer Wine, Not Going Out 

Something you didn’t know: Ball became a born again Christian in 1986 along with Tommy Cannon, with the pair going on to publish a book entitled “Christianity for Beginners”. 


You can check out all of Blackpool Grand Theatre’s upcoming comedy shows here.

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